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Why Weights Always Beats Cardio: Gemma’s Blog Week 6

There is a time and a place for cardio, but for me, it’s all about weight training now.

I find it boring doing hours and hours of cardio.  If I do hit some cardio, I like doing HIIT training; I love doing hill sprints and ball slams.

When I do my cardio sessions, I do 45 minutes on the bike or go on a cross trainer and I do get a bit bored (but sometimes needs must).

Whereas weight training for me, I feel more strong and powerful throwing weights around.

It releases those endorphins, and I feel positive and happy. It just shapes my body a lot better than cardio.

With all-round cardio, it’s kind of just losing body weight from all over. Whereas when you’re working specific muscles, you can work those muscles individually – so on your chest day or on your back day or leg day, there’s that mind-muscle connection where you focus on shaping that muscle.

Gemma Atkinson Ultimate Performance Split squat


I found that doing cardio in the past I became just like a beanpole; my bum went, my boobs shrank.

I didn’t eat well and all I did was just run and I just lost weight from everywhere and I just didn’t like how my body looked.

I think weight training is the way forward for me because it just shapes my body better and it makes me feel a lot better.

If you look at long-distance runners – granted, cardiovascular-wise they’re incredibly fit and I take my hat off to them, there’s no way I could run that far – but when you look at their body shape compared to a sprinter or an athlete like Jessica Ennis-Hill, they look strong and they look powerful and they look healthier to me.

That’s the way I want to look. My goal is to get stronger, leaner and more powerful on this body transformation at Ultimate Performance.

This is a firm goal I’m keeping in mind while I am away in the sun for a few days.

I am going away with some friends so I will be away from UP for a while, but I want to keep progressing.

Gemma Atkinson Ultimate Performance seated row


I am going to keep up my training program and keep on top of my food.

I will be sending my trainers updates every single day, so it will keep me accountable and on track while I’m away.

But I feel like I’m in a good headspace to do it; I don’t want to have come this far and then have a week away and mess it up and then have to come back and start from square one.

My trainer Mark has said to me that next week is about maintaining all the progress I’ve made; I don’t want to come back having put body fat on.

He has taken a very sensible approach to it. He said ‘you’re going away and you want to enjoy it, but at the same time you don’t want to ruin this amazing progress that you’ve made and all the hard work you’ve put in, because you’ll just deflate yourself when you get back.’

I will just take each day as it comes when I’m away. Obviously trying on bikinis before I go is a big motivation point to keep me going.

Gemma Atkinson Ultimate Performance triceps


One thing to always keep in mind is this: because you’re going away you don’t have to eat junk. You’re not a dog; you don’t have to reward yourself with food.

With every meal, you have a choice to fuel your body or poison your body.

Of course, there will be times in the future when on a Friday you’ll think, “I’ll ‘poison’ my body with a bit of pizza and beer” but the majority of the time I’m drawn to the most colourful meal I can have with vegetables and healthy ingredients, and it’s a good feeling.

Week 6 of training went well – it was designed to prepare me for my week away.

We increased the weights just to make up for the fact that next week I will be training on my own.

Today we tried the hack squat instead of the pendulum squat.

Gemma Atkinson Ultimate Performance hack squat

Catch up with Gemma’s Week 1 blog and how she lost 5lbs in just seven days weight training at UP. 

It was hard, and it was challenging, but I got through it. I did three sets at 60kg which proved to myself I’m stronger than I think.

I’ve been putting the hard yards in and laying the groundwork before next week.

I feel really good and I’m looking forward to a change in the training atmosphere.

Training in different places is always good. When I went to train at UP Marbella in the sunshine it gave you a real feel-good buzz.

So the fact that I will be training in the sunshine again will be good for me.

It’s going to be good getting the chance to put all the new things I’ve learned here at UP into practice on my own in the gym.

Now I know my limits are more than what I give myself credit for. I know how to push myself.

If I was training at a gym before on my own there’s no way I would have thought of squatting 80kg. Now I think to myself ‘yes I can do that. I did that last week at UP; you did 10 reps on it.’

So it’s remembering what I’m really capable of and what I can do. It’s just having a bit of faith in myself and putting it into practice while I’m away and training on my own and doing what I know I’m capable of.

But the bottom line of going away is that I’m not going to let myself down or let my trainers down.

We’ve all put a lot of hard work into this transformation. So, I am going to make sure I will do them proud.

Then when I get back it’s going to be straight back to it for the last six weeks to get those incredible results.

If you’re inspired by Gemma’s journey and want to start your own body transformation, talk to us about our Personal Training Plans. 

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